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MLB Rumors: Cuban SS Jose Garcia to work out for Astros, Reds, Padres, others

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia will work out in front of the Astros, Reds, Padres and some others in Mexico this week, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heyman says that the 19-year-old Garcia is “expected to sign in the next few weeks” and is “expected to get a multi-million dollar deal.” Garcia, who was cleared by MLB to be a free agent on May 9, is being compared to the OriolesManny Machado “but with less power” and is known as a “superior defender,” Heyman says.

Garcia will join a few Cubans who have signed or agreed to deals. The most recent deal occurred just six days ago, as 19-year-old outfielder Luis Robert agreed to join the White Sox on a $25-30 million signing bonus, though the full terms were not disclosed. The Astros signed first baseman Yuli Gurriel in 2016. The Blue Jays signed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a seven-year, $22-million deal in November. Outfielder Yasmany Tomas defected from Cuba in June 2014 and signed a six-year, $68.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks in December of that year. The Red Sox signed infielder Yoan Moncada — now baseball’s No. 1 prospect — to a deal that included a record-$31.5 million signing bonus before trading him to the White Sox to get ace Chris Sale. The Athletics also signed outfielder Lazaro Armenteros for $3 million.

Along with the Astros getting Gurriel, the Padres signed 18 international players last year. As for the Reds, they had pursued Robert until the White Sox scooped him up.

Out of the three teams, the Padres would need him the most since their starting shortstop Erick Aybar is 33 years old. The Reds would be next since their starter, Zack Cozart, is 31. The Astros have one of the game’s best players in Carlos Correa starting for them.